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Red Fox

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Red Fox
Temporal range: Mid-Pleistocene–Recent
European red fox (V. v. crucigera)
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Tribe: Vulpini
Genus: Vulpes
Species: V. vulpes
Binomial name
Vulpes vulpes
(Linnaeus, 1758)

45 ssp., see text

Distribution of the red fox. Native are dark orange, introduced in light orange.

Vulpes fulva, Vulpes fulvus

A Red Fox sitting.
European red fox
Vulpes vulpes- Skull

The Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a mammal of the order Carnivora. It is the most well-known species of fox. Red Foxes are sometimes hunted for sport, or killed as pests or carriers of rabies.[2]


Red Foxes have short legs, pointed triangular black ears, and a long bushy tail tipped in white. Like a cat's, the fox's thick tail helps it balance,[2] but it has other uses as well. The tail (or "brush") of a red fox can be like a flag to communicate with other red foxes. They also communicate with each other by urinating on trees or rocks, like dogs sometimes do. Its back, sides, and head are usually covered with orangish-red fur, and its neck and chest are covered with white fur. Its legs and paws are normally black.[3]

Behavior and Diet

Red foxes hunt alone. Because they are carnivorous, they feed on rodents, birds, rabbits, and other small animals. However, some red foxes eat fruit and vegetables, fish, frogs, and even worms. The red fox will continue to hunt even when it is full.[3] It stores leftover food to eat later. When they are raised by humans domestically, they can also eat pet food. Red Foxes hunt mostly at night, sunset, and dawn.[4]

Red foxes usually mate in the winter. The vixen (female fox) normally gives birth to a litter of 2 to 12 pups. When red foxes are born, they are brown or gray. Although a new red coat usually grows in one month, some red foxes have other colored coats such as golden, reddish-brown, silver, or even black. The mother of the pups feed them at first by regurgitating food into their mouths.[4]

When it sleeps, it wraps its tail around its nose to stay warm.[3]


Distribution of the Red Fox.

It is native to the Americas, Asia, and Europe. It was introduced to Australia in the 19th century.


  1. Macdonald, D.W. & Reynolds, J.C. (2008). Vulpes vulpes. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2008. Retrieved on 2006-08-09.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Terrance B. Adamson. "Red Fox Facts" (in English). National Geographic Society. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Peter A. Frid. "The Red Fox" (in English). Durham, NH 03824: New Hampshire Public Television. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Mark Moran. "Studies of the Red Fox from the Northern Virginia Ecology" (in English). Fairfax County Public Schools. Retrieved 2010-12-27.

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